100 – #EdFringe ★★★★

In Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

★★★★
theSpace on the Mile, Edinburgh (Venue 39) – until 25 August 2017
Guest reviewer: Hugh Simpson

An otherworldly take on very human dilemmas is aided by some outstanding performances in Lone Light Theatre and New Celts Productions’ 100.

100 was originally written and staged by theatre group The Imaginary Body in 2002, when it won a Fringe First. It remains an intriguing work, with a group of people finding themselves in preparation for the afterlife, with only one hour to choose an abiding memory from their life to guide them through eternity.

This production’s classification as ‘physical theatre’ may be off-putting for some, but there is as much stylised movement in the average Royal Lyceum production – which just goes to show how much the techniques of physical theatre have entered the mainstream.

In truth, the more physical elements of the piece are its weakest point; not all of the movement is sharp or defined enough. There is no director credited – just two ‘rehearsal advisors’ – and perhaps a more definite overview would have remedied this.

Otherwise, this is all very fine. Rachel Still is thoroughly convincing as Sophie, the careerist forced to re-examine her achievements, while Daniel Lumsden’s Katu, a tribal Galileo who confronts his people’s beliefs, avoids the traps inherent in playing someone from a very different background and gives the character a touching universality.

Mark McMinn and France Bonner, as the couple whose impressions of their relationship may not be identical, are utterly believable and almost heartbreaking.

Best of all is Cait Irvine, as the figure who is there to guide them. The energy on stage suddenly goes up a level as soon as she appears, and she gives a fascinating performance, full of mysterious light and shade – however, this is always at the service of the ensemble rather than overshadowing the other performances.
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Minimal props are well used, and light and sound – both by Angelica Araceli Saludes Estevez – add to the air of strangeness.

Plays about evaluating what is important, or discovering you ‘true self’ can be bogged down in sentimental sloganeering. Here there are no easy answers, and some very fine acting indeed makes for an extremely thought-provoking experience.

Running time 1 hour (no interval)
theSpace on the Mile, 80 High Street, EH1 1TH (Venue 39)
Saturday 5 – Friday 25 August 2017
Odd dates only at 12.50pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/100
Lone Light Theatre Facebook page: @LoneLightTheatre

ENDS

Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. In addition to his personal account, he tweets @AllEdinTheatre.
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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. In addition to his personal account, he tweets @AllEdinTheatre.